Music Break: Independence Day (1996) patriotic score by David Arnold

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!! Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend, wherever you are.

I went up north for a couple of days for a quick weekend getaway and went kayaking around Apostle Islands near Bayfield, WI. On the drive back we listened to the Art of the Score, one of my favorite music podcasts out of Australia and in this episode, they discussed James Bond soundtracks, particularly the later ones by British composer David Arnold. Well, I have to admit I became familiar with Arnold’s work because of his astounding work in Casino Royale (2006), which stands as one of my all time favorite scores (not just for a Bond movie). But then the two hosts Andrew Pogson & Dan Golding talked about Arnold’s filmography and they mentioned Independence Day as one of his most famous work.

ID4 white house explosion

Serendipitously enough, I had just watched like the last half hour or so of ID4 on TV as it happened to be playing on TV in my hotel!

I actually left the end credits rolled before switching the channel and I forgot just how enjoyable the score was, but I didn’t look up the composer. Well since today happens to be America’s birthday, I thought it’s a perfect time to highlight ID4’s score! Let’s start with this one which is a terrific score that perfectly complements one of the most memorable presidential speech in movie history (spoken by Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman), one of my top five favorite American presidents in the movies!):

This one is appropriately defiant and patriotic, which has a bit of Superman theme touches in there, another highly patriotic movie involving aliens, ahah.

Independence Day Music Trivia:

  • David Arnold-composerThe score won a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television. Per Wiki, it was recorded with an orchestra of 90, a choir of 46, “and every last ounce of stereotypical Americana he could muster for the occasion”.

    The film’s producer Dean Devlin commented that “you can leave it up to a Brit to write some of the most rousing and patriotic music in the history of American cinema.” 

  • Per IMDb Trivia, according to the liner notes from the recent La La Land Records limited release of the complete score by David Arnold, the drum rhythm heard during the invasion scenes near the beginning of the film are Morse Code letters D-I-E.

  • Struggling to write the score, David Arnold secluded himself in a Los Angeles hotel room for almost four months to avoid the escalating hype for the film. But from his window he saw helicopters carrying banners with taglines to the film as part of a marketing campaign, which only stressed him out even more.

Here are two more tracks from the movie to make it an even four:

Even 25 years later, I think ID4 remains one of the go-to movie to watch on July 4th, which is crazy the fact that per IMDb trivia, director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin got the idea for the film while fielding a question about the existence of alien life during promotion for Stargate (1994). A reporter asked Emmerich why he made a film with content like that if he did not believe in aliens. Emmerich stated he was still fascinated by the idea of an alien arrival, and further explained his response by asking the reporter to imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and discover fifteen mile-wide spaceships were hovering over the world’s largest cities. Emmerich then turned to Devlin and said, “I think I have an idea for our next film.” They penned the script in four weeks. It was sent out on a Thursday, and they started fielding offers the next day. By Monday, they were in pre-production. 

will smith - jeff goldblum

It made a star out of Will Smith and he + Jeff Goldblum made a pretty fun duo! Of course, given its massive success, a sequel was inevitable, but I still have not seen Independence Day: Resurgence and probably never will.


Hope you enjoyed this music break! What’s YOUR favorite patriotic movie?

Thursday Movie Picks #56: Alien Invasion of Earth

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… 

Alien Invasion of Earth

This month’s theme turns out to be pretty easy as there are actually not that many to pick from for me. A lot of the scifis I like are more about humans & robots, not aliens.

So without further ado, here are my picks:

Independence Day (1996)

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.

When someone says ‘alien invasion movies,’ the first thing that came to mind is this. In fact, I asked my hubby and that’s the first thing that came to his mind as well. It’d also my pick for apocalyptic blockbuster as it’s just so much fun! I remember when I saw it on the big screen for the first time, there’s a sense of awe and intrigue when those big spaceships first appeared hovering above the sky.

ID4

I mean, all the action set pieces like the White House blowing up, Will Smith punching the ugly, slimy alien in the face, and that bombastic aerial battle at the end are still memorably epic to this day! It’s an awesome ensemble cast too, Jeff Goldblum has the snark and swagger to make any role memorable. And of course there’s that rousing, albeit corny, presidential speech from Bill Pullman… “We won’t go quietly into the night!” There’s nothing quiet about this flick and I love it all the better for it!

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SIGNS (2002)

A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Let me preface this pick with the fact that despite the atrocity of The Happening, I actually still have hope for M. Night’s career. He’s made two excellent films you could consider a classic (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) and the other two in his resume, The Village and Signs, left a lasting impression that I thought about them for days after seeing them. I know his films have their share of ardent fans and equally passionate detractors.

SIGNSmovie

I’m not saying SIGNS is a perfect film, there are some preposterous, even laughable moments. But I like that it’s really not so much about alien invasion, but he took some of the classic elements of that genre and turn it on its head. In the same way that Sixth Sense isn’t your typical ghost story and Unbreakable offers a compelling twist in the crowded superhero genre, Signs deals with a broader theme. It’s an intimate film about a close-knit family, led by a former pastor dealing with a crisis of faith. The mystery and suspense surrounding the aliens themselves was pretty fun to watch the first time around, but it isn’t the heart of the film and it’s not what stuck with me afterwards. I like the emotional and spiritual aspect, and how a dire predicament actually helps restore a man’s soul and brings his family together. It’s been ages since I saw this but I definitely want to see this again. Excellent acting all around too by Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix.

Pacific Rim (2013)

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

I love LOVE this movie! I never thought I’d love a big monster movie THIS much but what can I say, it’s awesome. Or as one character in the movie said, “That’s two-thousand five-hundred tons of awesome!’😀 I don’t think it’d be a major spoiler to say that it’s as much an alien invasion movie as it’s a big monster flick. The Kaijus are obviously not from this world, they’re mammoth biological weapons sent by an alien colony through a portal for a specific mission: wipeout humankind. Guillermo del Toro did an amazing job making these creatures look organic like a dinosaur, but with thick, gunky blue blood that actually looks cool the bloodier the darn thing is.

PacRim

All the fight scenes between the Kaijus and the massive human-powered robots called Jaegers are wonderfully staged. But I love that we constantly see the humans powering these machines and some of the scenes are actually quite emotional. I like the father-daughter dynamic between Idris Elba‘s and Rinku Kikuchi‘s, and a flirty banter between Rinku and hunky Charlie Hunnam, as well as a slew of fun supporting characters that enrich the movie. Just like ID4, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, there’s something so giddily-amusing about the fight scenes, like when a Jaeger named Gypsy Danger swung a huge, Titanic-sized ship and hurl it at the Kaiju. You just want to get up and cheer when those moments came on!

I saw this movie twice on the big screen and loved every minute of it. I’ve since bought the Bluray and it’s gotten a lot of play in my house.

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What do you think of my alien-invasion movie picks this week? Have you seen any of these films?